Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


various economic interpretations of the past would
regard some of the economic factors in history as
belonging to this class.

It is necessary for us to have these preliminary points
before our eyes in order to obtain the framework of
ideas, or in order to enter the particular intellectual
realm, in which Marxian history has any relevance for
us—the realm in which we can meet it on what I might
call discussing terms. At this stage, however, we can
say that there are certain things which we can and must
demand from anything that claims to be an interpretation
of history—there are certain conditions that must be
satisfied. First of all, no interpretation of history can get
away frojn the fact that it is men who make history,
it is men's brains that produce ideas. Secondly, we
must always bear in mind that nothing less than the
whole of the past is necessary to explain the whole of
the present—it can never be true to say that merely
economic causes can account for the golden age of
Spanish civilisation, for example. Thirdly, a so-called
interpretation of history (in the sense in which we are
now considering it) is really a comment on the historical
process, and on that system of historical necessity which
conditions human activity at any given moment—it is
really a commentary on the structure of the providential
order and the ways. of Providence. On this view a
person can hold an economic interpretation of history
without in any sense denying the existence of a spiritual
clement in life; for the interpretation is to be .regarded
rather as a thesis concerning the kind of universe in
which the spirit has to work. We should make a